By Nick Esterbauer


Earlier this month, I hosted the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO) webinar “Finding Inner Peace in the Chaos of Lawyering”, featuring guest speaker Joanna Shaw.

Joanna shared a number of tips for those overwhelmed with work as a lawyer (or other type of Family Dispute Resolution professional), including the following:

  • Recognizing that you are not alone in struggling to balance the demands of our profession, and that none of us are perfect (suggested reading: The Perfection Trap by Thomas Curran);
  • Taking the time for self-care (including healthy eating, reading, spending time outdoors, exercise, and breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga);
  • Realizing that there are limitations to what you can do to fix a client’s personal and family problems (focusing instead on the legal issues of their matter where we may be able to make a more meaningful difference).

Only in recent years has mental health become a topic of discussion at a greater number of CPD programs.  At last year’s Estates and Trusts Summit, my partner, Suzana Popovic-Montag presented on the topic of “Enhancing the Wellbeing of Lawyers: Practical Approaches to Supporting Mental Health in the Profession.”  A copy of Suzana’s paper is available here.

As lawyers, it is important that we recognize the impact that the stresses that our professional lives can impose on our personal lives and mental health and to identify and utilize coping mechanisms as necessary so that we can continue providing our clients with the highest level of service.  For estates lawyers, we interact daily with people who are experiencing grief and other complex family dynamics, which can take a toll if we do not make time for ourselves.

Last week’s FDRIO webinar is available to access for free by FDRIO members through FDRIO’s webinar archive.  Those who may be interested in hearing more about this topic may wish to consider registering for FDRIO’s annual conference, taking place on November 20, 2023, which will feature the panel discussion “Mental Health for Family Dispute Resolution Professionals”.  Hull & Hull LLP is proud to return as a Silver Sponsor for the conference again this year, and we are looking forward to hearing from the panel, as well as other conference speakers.

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